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USA 2009
produced by
Michael D. Howe, Brendan Reynolds, Daniel Jay Salmen, Gregg Holtgrewe for Wholecrue Productions
directed by Gregg Holtgrewe
starring Najarra Townsend, Jonas Goslow, David Coral, Christine Kellogg-Darrin, Daniel Jay Salmen
written by Gregg Holtgrewe, Matthew Wilkins, music by Nathaniel Levisay

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Siblings Chris (Jonas Goslow) and Aurora (Najarra Townsend) have taken it upon themselves to visit their father (David Coral) and his second wife Laura (Christine Kellogg-Darrin) in their cabin in the woods for the weekend - which promises to become a conflict-laden time as it is, since the relationship of the kids to their dad is strained ever since he left them and their mother for Laura, and he doesn't exactly approve of what the kids have made of their lives, neither ... while at the same time he pretends to be a reformed alcoholic but hides a liquor bottle under his bed.

Everything gets much worse though when a stranger (Daniel Jay Salmen) bursts into the cabin, first tries to attack them, and when he's overpowered and all tied up, he tells them about something that's out there, that killed his girlfriend, and that's now coming after all of them. Slowly, the family comes to the conclusion there must be some truth to what the stranger says. Problem is whatever it is is not only not human, it isn't even solid but some form of evil mindcontrol that preys on the family's weaknesses, like dad's alcoholism, Chris's fear of guns and Aurora's love for dogs, and one after the other, whatever-it-is lures the family out of the house and ... suffice to say the film doesn't end happily.


Dawning is a pretty clever film, clever inasmuch as it strips its own concept - a family, threatened by evil - down to the bones and does not waste any time with stupid explanations concerning the cause of the threat - which of course helps the film's atmosphere immensely, since this way the story's emphasis is firmly put on the situation at hand rather than distracted by people talking everything to death. Thsi goes hand-in-hand with Gregg Holtgrewe's direction that leaves much in the dark, literally, in order to not distract the viewer'S attention.

All that said, Dawning has its flaws as well: Basically, the whole torn family subplot sounds a little too much like something out of a soap opera to work 100%. This aspect of the film should have been treated with a little more subtlety, and should probably have been given a bit less room in the movie. But that said, the cast is uniformly pretty competent in bringing their roles across at least.

What we're ultimately left with is a pretty decent movie - with room for improvement.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD